It’s not just your will that needs to be up to date.

How important is it to make sure that you’re investment and insurance documents are up to date?

There are all kinds of things that can happen if you don’t have a designated beneficiary on your accounts. Typically if you pass away and your money is going to pass on, and you don’t designate a beneficiary, that money will be subject to probate.

Probate can involve pain off creditors, contentious battles between airs, taxation, and other unpleasant things that you don’t want your loved ones to deal with when they’re grappling with the loss of a loved one.

But there are other requirements you might be missing that could cost a lot of money or emotional strain.

For instance, i just received a call from a client who was the beneficiary of her long time boyfriend’s life insurance.

He had an extended illness and she had been taking care of him for the last five years.

Even though she’s the beneficiary on the life insurance they never filed an official domestic partnership. I was attempting to help her file the death claim so that she can receive the insurance benefits that he designated for her, but his family is refusing to communicate with her.

The State of Washington will only release the full “long form” death certificate to certain individuals, and she doesn’t qualify. Since they never registered as an official “domestic partnership” the Department of Health will not release the certificate she needs to file the life insurance claim.

Luckily, I called the family of the deceased and smoothed things over, and we were able to get the needed form.

Wills, trusts, and other legal documents besides the beneficiary designation are key to making sure your loved ones don’t have to deal with a big mess at the time they are dealing with a big loss.